Maher lauds Bulls’ best in the country
WHEN Carl Rackemann took the catch to secure Queensland's inaugural Sheffield Shield title almost 20 years ago, the ball could not have ended up in the hands of anyone more worthy.
That is the opinion of former Queensland legend and Bulls Masters general manager Jimmy Maher.
Maher looked on as a wide-eyed 21-year-old from cover at the time, as a team dominated by country-raised stars celebrated an historic moment.
"We had so much talent in that team from country areas," Maher told APN.
"Carl comes from Wondai, Andy Bichel is from Laidley, Matthew Hayden is from Kingaroy, Ian Healy is from central Queensland, I'm from Cairns, Wade Seccombe is from Murgon and Andrew Symonds grew up in Charters Towers."
For Rackemann, it was to be his last game in a first-class career that began in 1979-80 and included 616 wickets - and being a part of four losing Shield finals.
"Carl was an absolute superstar and he worked so hard," Maher said.
Maher said he had seen so many players from country areas adopt a similar hard-working nature to their game, but not go on to play first-class cricket due to a lack of time or money.
And that is why he is such a fierce believer in the Bulls Masters concept.
The Bulls Masters, now in its fourth year, is set to tour regions including Cairns, Mt Isa, central Queensland, the Sunshine Coast, Gympie and Charters Towers, starting next month.
Next summer will be a special one for Queensland Cricket, which plans to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of its inaugural Shield victory in regional cities, as part of the Masters' road show.
"We want to give back to the country areas and help talented young cricketers who aspire to play in representative teams," said Maher, the Bulls' third-highest run scorer with 9889 to his name at first-class level.
Meanwhile, the 2014 Indian Premier League is set to begin tonight, and Maher predicted Bulls and Brisbane Heat star Chris Lynn would fire for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
"Chris hits the ball straight and hard, is a good fielder and has a great future in the game," Maher said.